Revenge of the Former Employee

Emily Holbrook


February 1, 2010

In January 2008, a disgruntled former employee of Fannie Mae planted malicious script that was designed to overwrite all data on the financial giant's network. Sadly, this type of vengeful act is happening more frequently than ever and executives are taking note.

In fact, according to Ernst & Young's 12th annual Global Security Survey, 75% of respondents are concerned with the possibility of reprisal from former employees seeking revenge. But as budgets are being cut, managers are finding it difficult to fund IT security initiatives within their organizations. In fact, 50% of respondents ranked this as a high or significant challenge, a meaningful 17% increase over 2008 numbers.

The current state of the economy puts many executives in a difficult position. They feel the need to increase IT security measures, but are restricted because of budget woes. "Information security today already requires a lot more investment, as organizations race to catch up with an accelerating threat landscape, after a much delayed start," said Paul van Kessel of Ernst & Young's information technology risk and assurance services practice. And as layoffs continue, albeit at a slower pace, senior executives will be turning to their IT departments to devise tighter security measures without breaking the bank.
Emily Holbrook is the founder of Red Label Writing, LLC, a writing, editing and content strategy firm catering to insurance and risk management businesses and publications, and a former editor of Risk Management.